When we visited Darjeeling, we were lucky enough to find a log cabin right on the Darjeeling Mall and as a result ended up spending the evenings almost exclusively walking up and down the Mall Road. All this while, unbeknownst to us, a world-famous tea shop was quietly going about its business.
Nathmulls of Darjeeling, though right there on the Mall Road, is slightly hidden. And we were naively unaware of its existence, or fame, for one whole day, until one of our friends messaged us urging us to pay the tea shop a visit. If it wasn't for this messaged, we would never have realized that we were missing a landmark.
Nathmulls was established in 1931 when Mr Nathmull Sarda migrated to Darjeeling from Rajasthan and started trading in tea. In about a decade, his son Mr Nandlall took over and started expanding the business. Soon he ventured into the retailing of Darjeeling Teas, and this was the birth of Nathmulls.
The family is extremely proud of their teas, as evident from the pride they take in explaining them to their customers. The Nathmulls on the Darjeeling Mall was managed by a young lady, who was the daughter-in-law of the family. She explained to us the basics of how tea is made and the various categories based on quality (First Flush, Second Flush, Third Flus). Though we were already aware of most of the process, it was good to hear the passion.
The interiors were beautiful and the shop offered good views of the valley below. The staff is respectful and well trained at serving the special teas. One can find a wide variety of tea on their menu, and the staff will gladly explain to you what each variety exactly is.
We sat there and enjoyed the Nathmulls Limited Edition Tea. The flamboyance with which it was served and the fragrance refreshed us instantly. We have always been skeptical of expensive teas and wines, but this tea was definitely worth the money we spent on it.
We saw several people buying different types of teas from the shop, but couldn't bring ourselves to buy some. We aren't such huge fans of tea and felt that it would probably not be the best use of our money. The shop had teas ranging from Rs 350 per kg to Rs 30,000 per kg. On looking back, I feel that we made the right decision. However, if you are passionate about tea, this will be a good place for you to shop. You can also buy kettles tea kettles, tea cozies, cups and saucers and other such pretty things.